You're blocking ads, which pay for BlenderNation. Read about other ways to support us.

Terragen 2 Preview


A great application that doesn't always get the lime-light is Terragen. It's slow in development but it's new features that will be coming in Terragen 2 are really impressive.

Terragen is capable of photorealistic results for professional landscape visualisation, special effects, art and recreation.

What is great about Terragen is the amazing ability to create spectacular photorealistic scenery and then you can export the terrain to other programs such as Blender for use in other projects. The new version has advanced shaders and terrain generation capabilities.

Terragen 2 is not just for stills either, you can use it for animations. The creators over at Planetside Software have created an incredible video that demonstrates the power of the animation engine. You can check out the Terragen 2 Mars Animation here (remember to right click Save As).

To get started with Terragen read this guide on Surface Mapping.

About the Author

Daniel LaBarge

Blender Artist & Contributor at ID Studios [] Web Designer & Programmer at MonsterWeb []


  1. Heh. That got me worked up. ;P I even went to Terragen's website to confirm this. I knew the application is not FLOSS (coz they sell it for commercial use), but I went to the site anyway. I guess it would be good if Planetside will realize the commercial and technical strength of open source and consider it as a business model. The proprietary world's going to die anyway (someday). :) All hail FLOSS!

  2. If i remember correct, terragen2 is only for registered users who pay 100$ license - hope i didn´t
    talk nonsens. Thats truely not Open Source - right?
    And by the way - i "tested" the "free" version of bryce5. What can i say. Do you work for fun
    in blender with only one 3D Window? Its great for the workflow..... ;)
    ....and so i "returned" to blender and play with this great script A.N.T. Landscape and maybe
    need a littlebit more time then in bryce to create a good looking skybackround.
    But this short journey showed my... i love blender!
    Greetings and Good Night :-)

  3. It's hard to deny they've found a formula for success. Terragen is an incredible application. If your project is of large enough scale this is even worth spending a decent amount on.

    You can bet I'm looking forward to v2

  4. The reason why I am confident that Blender will not disappear from the scopes of the future is because it is FLOSS.. As to Terragen, I think it is a fairly excellent application and more so now that it is in version 2.0 (I simply love the photo-realism of the screenshots), but as I have mentioned earlier, it will (together with all proprietary products) deteriorate into oblivion as it is based on unfounded secrecy. I guess what I am trying to say is, to all you non-techies out there, consider using FLOSS (an excellent example: Blender) more than proprietary ones so that you do not spend resources (time & money) in learning software that are not immortal... :)

  5. Vassilios Boucer on

    From Terragen Site:

    Will there be a free version of TG2?

    Having a version of TG that is free for personal non-commercial use has been very successful for us, and we would like to continue that with TG2.

  6. Terragen 2! Don't get me started! The so-called 'Tech Preview' is more than a year overdue! This 'news' is old!!!

    Planetside is VERY uncommunicative. Mails remain unanswered. They don't even have a mailing list for people who are awaiting the Tech Preview...

    TG2 seems 'vaporware'.

  7. In the end of it all, I think Blender is still better by leaps and bounds. I talk here not in the functionality aspects guys but in the perspective of my blabbering (see above). I will not be taken by mere eye candy!

    "They that can give up general purpose computers for the sake of a little eye candy deserve neither computers nor eye candy"

  8. I'm not sure how Terragen is working. I think the landscape itself must be like one of those old fractal landscape generators which were a bit of a fad on the 16-bit machines in the late 80's / early 90's. The extras in Terragen 2 (plants etc) looks like some sort of procedural synthesis. or perhaps just other fractal details added on top of the landscape.

    Anyone know of an open source landscape generation tool, or have some old code knocking about they'd like to open up? I think the basic landscape generator is fairly straight forward, but the details could be quite complex. It would be good to see an open source rival to Terragen.

    Anyone want to collaborate on one?

  9. you could even use something like the new displace stack to add extra detailto the model and then use that displacement map to add spec and color mappings. Just some thoughts. I have been thinking of this for awhile :)

  10. Man, this is such old news... I've been waiting forever for TG2, still waiting, and waiting, and...

    I agree, TG2 appears to be vaporware...

  11. i agree also, let's just wait for some people who will develop an open-source rival of terragen and we know for sure that TG2 will vaporized in seconds.

    Hey, TG2 dont advertize your software here in blendernation. this is exclusive only for open-source and completely free software.

  12. Yeah, just wait a couple of days, and whoohoo, there we have a nice open source planet creator. Full featured, plants, atmos, rivers, lakes and all that stuff.

    Know what? I do own the full version to e-ons Vue5 Infinite, standard version of Pandromedas Mojoworld, bought bryce 5 while you still had to pay for it. All great peaces of software. Best of the is definitely Vue5. No other program contains these amazin capabilities. Just for the sake of the discussion: Take a look at their demo videos. They are breathtaking.

    But: Mojoworld is dying. Now real updates, no new features. Still at version 3.1 (with a small updat to 3.1.1) for month now. Bryce is the same, I guess. Don't think that daz will put much effort into this tool. Still at version 5.5 since many month. Guess they will strip the good parts and put them into carrara. Terragen is even worse. No updates. Just rumours for endless waiting month.

    From my own experience with all these beautifull toys, one thing became clear to me: You don't need them. As powerfull as they might be, breathtaking, you don't need them.

    Take a look into blendernations gallery and look at the artfull pictures that we have. All these great pictures there, there is barely one who was created using one of these tools. If you want to create _really_ impressive cg art, then don't focus on these tools. Stick to blender, or any other 3d tool you want, and use your inspiration, your creativity. _This_ will bring the glow into the eyes of your audience. Not the oh-so-fancy tools.

    Sorry for this rant. Reading to many I-want-it-I-need-it-can-I-have-it-for-free posts recently.



  13. From discussions I've had with the developer they are planning to have an "updated" free version that will include some of the basic features of T2.

    People need to keep in mind this is a fairly complex concept and this guy is doing this in his spare time. A single man. Be kind in your crit. Blender got to the point is at with hundreds of people contributing to the code.

  14. I think, in my own opinion and to the opinion of most FLOSS advocates, there is something seriously wrong with the proprietary model of creating software. BTW, it is worth to differentiate commercial and proprietary software here; for FLOSS can also have commercial value (think RedHat, IBM, Novel, et. al.). The main difference is how the software is developed and how it will be deployed to its users: will it recognize the rights of the users to distribution, usage, sharing, modification, assurance of longevity, etc. Of course, most of us will agree that software developers also need to be compensated for the effort they are making in creating software. I understand that; I'm a software developer myself. But in FLOSS, commercial value is out of the question. The real issue here (as I have mentioned earlier) is the freedom you gain from using it and the assurance that you will have a reliable, stable, powerful, feature-rich, secure, immortal, etc. software. Software will define our future, it is essential that is understood well. Besides, it has been proven in countless ways (in the FLOSS world) that money isn't the only worthy compensation for everything. Please don't say that there isn't anything wrong with proprietary software; FLOSS wouldn't be here if that's the case. FLOSS is to replace this old world and you've got to realize that to resist is futile ;P.

    (P.S. Don't take this as a flame, rather, see this as an advice: might you read more Free Software/Libre/Open Source literature. There really is more to FLOSS than free as in beer a.k.a. costless.)

  15. For the record, Mr. Gunnar, I ask forgiveness for the seemingly pathetic plea for an open source alternative to Terragen. I do agree with your point; the power of a creation lies not on the tool used to create it but on the mind behind its conception. But you must understand that the beauty of FLOSS is that it draws us away from the clutches of having no choice. Surely there is a need for such tools as Terragen for they will not be created without purpose. We only need to realize that we are different in many ways and some of us do things differently. FLOSS brings us tools that are similar to these unfree ones and offers us freedom. Whenever there is a need for such software to exist then that need must be implemented in FLOSS. I hope I'm making sense here. All those pleas above are not results of fandom, they are just there to reassert the need for FLOSS.

    Forgive me, in reality, I'm just ranting to defend myself. ;P

  16. Please don’t say that there isn’t anything wrong with proprietary software; FLOSS wouldn’t be here if that’s the case. FLOSS is to replace this old world and you’ve got to realize that to resist is futile ;P.

    (P.S. Don’t take this as a flame, rather, see this as an advice: might you read more Free Software/Libre/Open Source literature. There really is more to FLOSS than free as in beer a.k.a. costless.)

    To me a lot of work goes into developing software and its a coder's artwork. Its like if a picasso painting was open sourced and people started copying pieces of the painting and using it within their own artwork. I don't know. I just understand why proprietary software exists. I'm an avid supporter of OS though, so don't get me wrong. I am a writer here, so you know I'm a blenderhead;)

  17. I think that's the reason why special mechanisms like GNU GPL's copyleft was created; to protect free software from being exploited in abusive ways. BTW, a lot of the money gained from Picasso's artworks did not go to Picasso as a lot of money gained from proprietary software do not go to the developers themselves. I think what is righteous is that coders should be payed because they create software (which is what is happening now even in the proprietary world) not because of some mystic concept as IPR. It just doesn't fit with the idea of equity (companies like M*cros*ft can charge for software that was only created once, endlessly). Besides, employing FLOSS will not take away the jobs from the developers, it just reorrients us to a different paradigm; that software development should not be product-centered, rather, it should be service-oriented. It forces us to reevaluate our believes of what is really righteous (in terms of rights) and what is practically fair (to both users and developers). It's just like saying that a chair craftsman cannot charge everyone using the chairs he creates like as if they're for rent. Rather, he can only charge for its creation, for its repairs or for improvements his customers require...

  18. Well, let me just say that I like the program - old news or not. I am rediscovering Terragen. I am a hobbyist, so free for non-comercial use suits me fine. If I ever decide to sell any of my work, then I will register it.
    If you like it, use it. If you really like it buy it. My only complaint would be that there doesn't seem to be any linux port. But that is the same with other software I use also...Genetica and Poser (both bought and paid for).

    If blender did not exist as open source, then I would also pay for a 3d app. For me, there has to be a compelling reason to purchase a piece of software. Currently, I'm not willing to learn everything I should about character modeling, so, for me Poser is worth the money. I can use all the help I can get with texture creation, so I purchased Genetica. I use GIMP also. What single feature of Photoshop is worth 649.00 USD? Is Maya better than Blender? I don't know, but again, I ask what feature set over and above Blender is worth 2000.00 USD.

    Reasonable pricing is all I ask, as I will not use cracked software. I will forever be grateful that a piece of software as well developed and supported as Blender is is open source and free.

    Best of Luck to you all!!!!

  19. Words of practicality are like clothes to your body; they bring you comfort and ease. But then again, from time to time, we seek for the solace of music. Freedom is to soul as music is to ear..

    Please forgive this pathetic creature intoxicated with FLOSS... I want you to know that I appreciate a practical person for it is he I can never be..

    Peace out. ;P

  20. Understand again people that FLOSS is not about price. It is about freedom and software superiority. It only appears currently that most FLOSS are costless. But you will find later, when it matures, that it is more of a paradigm shift than a commodity shift. It is understandable that people will choose proprietary software when an open source alternative is not present. I liked how OBI_Ron put it; you really should see if the price tags are justifiable, but do not forget that there are more things to consider than price (i.e. reliability, security, stability, usability, etc.)

  21. Hi Daerd,
    no need to call me 'Mr.', since I am just a regular guy, like anybody else. Just call me Gunnar and I will be reasonable happy (-;

    I am myself a deep advocate of Open source software. At the last company I worked for I was one of the guys officially responsible for the oss world. And if you take a quick look into the blender foundation list for the people who actually donated money for buying blender, you will find my name there.

    The problem arises at the point where people _demand_ an open source tool which suits their need. And you know why? Because instead of wasting their breath shouting "OMG!!! Ponies!11! I need an open source world simulator with physically correct gravity simulation" why don't these just fire up the development tool of their choice and start digging into source code? Know why? It's pure laziness. Most time covered by "I don't know how to program'.

    There is a not so very fine saying which goes like "put up or shut up". No, this wasn't directed at you, and it wasn't directed at anybody else here. On the other hand, it was directed at everyone of us. Us guys who want blender to become better and better by the day. There is a solution, which is pretty simple: Just make it better.

    Go into the next bookshop (like google) and search for something like "C for dummies" and write your first hello world. And then reengineer the rendering system. After that, with some spare time befor dinner, take a quick look into the particle system and turn it into a nice hair studio.

    So long, need some sleep now.

    Flame on!



  22. And by the way: Terragen pretty much proves, what one person can achieve. I'd guess that in the beginning he didn't really know how to make a world simulator. Now he knows. And the pictures it creates let me sit in front of my laptop dreaming away.

    All it takes is dedication.



  23. This is not directed at author but, I'm so sick of hearing about TG2 news, and information that's the same thing over and over and that's closing in on 4 years old... even the Surface Map pdf linked in this article was from 2002. 4 Years.

    Close to 5 now! That's like a billion human evolution years in Computer evolution time!!

    Come on. Give us all a break.

    When there's something real and tangible the public can download and use (and pay for, we don't mind paying...), then come back.

    Until then. TG2 news..... SHUT.. UP....

  24. Why some people like Luc Bianco have TG2 over year now, and public doesnot have even limited demo? If Luc Bianco can generate such picture (and other guys testers od Terragen 2) why can public. So program exist, but from some reason it will not be passed to public download. And 2 or 3 years of promising, TG" will be donw, TG2 is near ending, TG2 is such powerfull and so... Give us demo, give us something. But dont give up promises, and pictures...

  25. I think its intresting to read all this reations on an "release info" of TG2.
    Its also intresting to see that a lot of comments here on blendernation going around the case
    use comercial, open Source, free and or trial and so on software.
    Is there only one way what sort of Soft´s to use ? I think not.
    If you see that the many artist using opensource and "you have to buy" Software at some projekt.
    I am happy that there is opensource software because the 3D world for me is a Hobby and i don´t have a large budget.

    But back to TG2: Is there only on person where develop this soft? Okay ... then it maybe take some time
    to make the next step. But read pepi´s comment..... i would say maybe it is
    usefull to say the truth." Sorry i am very bussy,have not much time and i don´t can say
    when the new release come..." Real fan´s understand that and wait or offer there
    help, if you are playing games like maybe it comes that date or not and that over
    a longer period.....that isn´t a good information policy.

  26. Concerning TG2's apparent vaporware status:

    TG2 IS still in active development. Basically, what happened is that they realized they were going to have to completely rewrite the rendering engine in order to get everything working right, which set development back pretty massively (The whole thing's being mostly developed by one guy). While the site itself was never updated to reflect this, most Terregen fans are aware of it because the author posted it to one of the main TG newsgroups.

    Currently, there is no set release date for TG2, the Planetside guys have missed enough release dates that they said they aren't going to annouce one for TG2 until they are sure they can hit it.

    Luc Bianco and a few others have access to in-development alpha copies, but they are far too buggy and code-intensive for normal use.
    Most users wouldn't have a clue what to even DO with the alphas.

    I believe currently TG2 is rumored late 2006 release, but I'm not sure how true that is.

  27. Luc Bianco and a few others have access to in-development alpha copies, but they are far too buggy and code-intensive for normal use.
    Most users wouldn’t have a clue what to even DO with the alphas.

    Compile that copies in something you can give to normal user, make it with some sort of instalation, and put to demo download like Povray give time limited demos.
    If in this time TG2 can give such nice picture, then I no need anything more. Or in other side, give me toy to play, and do it time limited play. In mean time, you, and other testers can build your project and make it better.

  28. Th3w-san - this is "Information" like it should be on the TG2 site.

    (The whole thing’s being mostly developed by one guy) .....okay - that need time! ;)

  29. I'm sorry Gunnar. You're right. Anyway, I'll hid your advice and try to develop for FLOSS once my university life is over (maybe I can even steal a little bit of my current time for it ;). But really, the only thing I could contribute with such little time is to flame (not really, spreading FLOSS is the term more like it). Anyway, for all you guys up there, proprietariness isn't really worth it. So I'll stand up for what I believe. Freedom or nothing! (Well, I STILL have the freedom to choose the tool I am to bind to while I'm still a student, so shut up! ;) And I'll never switch to something that'll kill my freedom even if you guys shout out for my stupidity...

    Peace out! And happy Blendering!

    Anyway, some pieces of the FLOSS soul:

  30. Hi Daerd,
    same goes for me currently. I once was in the situation to develop software. Currently my interests changed tremendously and I started diggigng into computer graphics.

    As said, I tried out a couple of tools and invested some money into socalled professional stuff, just to realize that there is a pretty professional tool named blender which perfectly suits my needs. So i did stick with it.

    I do travel a lot via train, about 4 hours a day, and use this time to work on my first real blender project, which will be a musicvideo. So I can spend 2-4 hours a day and dig into my own art. This is one thing I really enjoy.

    And this is one of the things I really like about this open source community. One group of dudes creates a marvelous tool, the other one takes it and creates marvelous results with it. So, this is symbiosis. And this is something I relly like. The freedom to create everything I want and the fact that people actually start to make something together.



  31. "That’s like a billion human evolution years in Computer evolution time!!"

    Human evolution? What's that? Last I checked, the code that makes me work is a trillion times more complicated than Terragen. Wonder who wrote it.... ;)

    I like to use World Machine (Basic Ed) to generate my terrain maps, then export them to Terragen to render. Check it out:

    As for the proprietery/FLOSS argument: Where I come from, we say "The workman is worthy of his hire." People deserve to be paid for their hard work.

  32. Well, whatever the reasons, freeware or open source or 1 guy working on it (terragen), the point is, if what people say is true, he's boxed himself into a corner.

    There is the product potential of this piece of software, based on the images I've seen, to make tons of cash. I've seen lots of images, most are crap including 90% of the ones created by users of Vue, World Builder, Mojo and dozens of others. Some are good.

    These images created with the Alpha product blow the doors off most everything I've seen (or tried to create myself) from other software.

    He could license the technology of what he's currenty created to someone like e-on or others and let them deal with the front end or whatever the problem is, finish it, etc..

    He could drop his day job or classes and finish it and make himself rich

    Or, as what appears to be happening... he can keep his day job to pay the rent and never finish the program to realize it's full potential.

    It's a shame. It looks killer, but in 2 years, if it never sees the light of day, all his work will probably be wasted as others catch up to him. And THEN he will have to keep his day job.

  33. I wholeheartedly agree with the frustration apparent on this page. I was a terragen user for a long time, and sadly had to give it up when i migrated from windows. Since then, I've attempted to get it working with WINE (partial functionality just doesnt cut it), and attempted to ask the terragen forums if there would be any linux port. I've seen the rumor go from a full-fledged linux port to DEFINITELY a cli interface to MAYBE a cli renderer only to ..... well.... you see the pattern. They can't even give us anything except promises and promises. I would LOVE to find an FLOSS program like this to contribute to. I understand that the programmers need money, but with over two years and nothing but promises, I don't plan on paying for the next version, even IF I could run it on my system. They don't want my dollar, and I'm not planning on giving it to them. But if there are any similar FLOSS projects....somebody let me know!

    PS: The beta version of TG2 is supposedly coming out Dec 15th. Windows AND OSX. So they can port cross-platform.....but just not for linux. So much for my support.

  34. Heh.. All I see here is whine whine whine.. New technologies take time to develop and even more so if done by a small company.. And the talk about vaporware is just plain silly. as the TG site says it. it has already been used in movies and such. I'm willing to buy this wonderful looking application once it is released as I don't expect to get everything for FREE..

  35. yes we wait and wait for Terragen 2, so many years now we wait but still nothing, i mean its good that its still being devloped slowly, but by one person!...insain, i just guess that he does not want to sell him self ot some large company, but IMO he would make more money at the end of the day.
    the one thing im waiting for is the end of this month and into 2007, to at least see if the website gets updated for the release date of T2. untill then i shall stick with my Cinema 4d 9.5 ( excellent 3d software, try the demo!)
    any ways we need an update i grow weary of Terragen 0.9 although it is still a good software but sofware like VUE is just soo much more better, this is maybe why TG2 is not being devloped slowly, due to the size and scale of the other large softwares.

  36. It would be nice to have a Vue, or Terragen like plug for Blender. Blender has two tree generators, an ivy generator, a cloud generator, so why doesnt someone do a collaborative effort and create a true landscape-environment plug for Blender? Hellooooo....

Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.